New Jersey Placenta Previa Birth Injury Lawyers
Watching your baby grow through pregnancy is one of the greatest joys. Each month the baby draws nutrients from your body, preparing itself for life outside the womb. The placenta, an organ shaped like a disk that grows to be about 7 inches long, nourishes a growing fetus with oxygen and nutrients in its mother’s blood flow. This life-giving tissue can also be life-ending when the placenta attaches to the bottom of the uterus and obstructs the cervix. Placenta previa, occurring in approximately 1 in 200 pregnant women, may lead to pregnancy and delivery complications. As a result, it is of paramount importance that doctors identify and properly handle placenta previa, with extreme diligence and attention to the mother’s and baby’s status and condition before, during, and after birth. Failure to diagnose or appropriately manage placenta previa can not only lead to profound consequences, but it may be grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or your baby suffered injuries due to the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of placenta previa, you have options to help you cope with the financial and emotional strain of dealing with the consequences of medical professionals’ negligence. Your obstetrical team should be educated and knowledgeable about common pregnancy conditions like placenta previa. Likewise, they should have taken all the necessary precautions and made the right decisions to ensure your condition was monitored and successfully navigated. To discuss what happened in your placenta previa case in New Jersey and the potential viability of a suit for malpractice, contact us today at 866-708-8617. Our highly experienced birth injury lawyers can examine your claim and provide the answers you need when deciding what to do next. You can also request a free consultation by contacting us through our convenient form.
What is Placenta Previa?
When a woman’s body prepares for childbirth, the cervix needs to be unobstructed in order for the baby to leave the womb. When the cervix dilates, the baby has room to leave the uterus and exit through the vagina, but not if the placenta covers the cervix. Placenta previa can be partial, total, or marginal (next to the cervix) obstruction of the cervix. It may be the result of placental abnormalities or uterine lining scarring from past procedures, miscarriages, or abortions. Though a low-lying placenta is common to most in early pregnancy, the condition typically clears up as the pregnancy progresses. Not so in cases of placenta previa.
What are the Signs of Placenta Previa?
Vaginal bleeding during the second trimester, after week 20, may be the pregnant woman’s first sign of placenta previa. Painless bleeding, whether slight or severe, occurs as the cervix stretches. Additionally, to adjust to the growing fetus, the uterus becomes thinner and widespread, which causes the placenta to separate and bleed if the placenta is embedded low in the uterus. In later pregnancy, as the woman’s body prepares for delivery, placenta previa interferes with the natural process and bleeding occurs during the typical hormonal and tissue changes. It may also happen during sexual intercourse in the last trimester.
Since bleeding can be a sign of many conditions, including placental abruption, physicians should be sure to take an ultrasound first before a vaginal examination. Placental abruption is the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall and is signaled by heavy read vaginal bleeding, just like placenta previa. However, the finger probe vaginal examination used to diagnose placental abruption can increase bleeding in placenta previa patients and should not be performed. Careful speculum vaginal exams may help locate the source of the bleeding, whether from the cervix or the vagina.
What Causes Placenta Previa?
A pregnant woman should be aware of what causes this condition. Placenta previa has many possible causes, such as the fertilized egg attaching low in the uterus, fibroids in the uterine walls, uterine lining scars, abnormal placenta, and multiple births. High risk factors for the condition include carrying a male baby, multiple pregnancies, older mothers, maternal cigarette smoking, residents who live in high altitude locations, and previous placenta previa pregnancy. Accordingly, those contemplating pregnancy may want to make lifestyle changes to reduce risks if at all possible. For example, a woman can quit smoking to lessen the chances of complications. It is equally important to receive an early diagnosis of the condition. To verify that pregnancy bleeding is placenta previa, the hospital or other healthcare facility typically runs ultrasound tests, and the doctor performs manual palpation to check the baby’s position in the womb. Usually, the baby is breech or sideways with placenta previa.
Placenta Previa Management
A patient’s treatment for placenta previa depends on the placenta location, blood loss volume, fetal age and position, health of mother and fetus, whether the bleeding has stopped and if the placenta is completely or partially covering the cervix. Since the medical goal is to maintain the pregnancy long enough to allow the fetus to grow as close to the due date as is safely possible, a treating physician may prescribe bed rest, hospitalization, monitoring, blood transfusion, tocolytic medications to slow labor, intravenous fluids, and restricted activities to avoid inducing contractions. When the baby has reached a safe delivery age, a c-section can be performed to birth the baby and tests performed to check the health of the mother. A vaginal birth for placenta previa is essentially not an option.
Possible Complications from Placenta Previa
Placenta previa can lead to many dangerous consequences. Some of the severe complications that may be the result of this condition include:
- Fetal distress
- Emergency cesarean section
- Premature labor
- Death of the baby and mother from blood loss and lack of oxygen
It is important to note that prematurity often creates short and long-term health problems for the baby as well.
What if Placenta Previa is Mishandled?
Placenta previa can have direct and collateral effects to mother and baby. It may lead to low fetal growth, a greater chance of abnormal fetal presentation (breech), premature labor, and placenta accreta, which happens when the placenta grows into the muscles and does not separate from the uterus after childbirth, resulting in hysterectomy. While most women with the condition deliver healthy babies, it all depends on decisions that healthcare professionals make along the way. In fact, physicians and the obstetrical team must make the right decisions, from diagnosis to treatment for placenta previa, in order to preserve the health and well-being of the woman delivering and her unborn child. A singular misstep in the process can lead to dire outcomes. It may even prove fatal.
Who can Help with my Placenta Previa Injury Case in NJ?
It is incumbent upon physicians, nurses, and hospital staff to ensure that you and your baby are safe in the time surrounding birth and any time while you are under their care. Contact 866-708-8617 if you would like to speak with a knowledgeable placenta previa attorney in New Jersey. Our team is thoroughly prepared to answer your questions and to discuss filing a lawsuit for malpractice with placenta previa or another type of birth complication. The consultation and case review is available to you immediately and always provided at no cost.